CONCORD, N.C. — Now is a good time to gaze into the crystal ball of fashion and try to predict the trends the designers and manufacturers will be offering the consumer for the late spring and summer.
Those fashions will eventually find their way to your counter. You will need to have a plan in place to deal with any delicate construction and trim.
When you are prepared with knowledge and a plan, you are well on your way to successful and profitable care of the customer’s garment.
While khakis and fatigues remain in vogue, the trend is to make these items dressier by using sheer fabric and gathers in the construction.
This is good news for the professional cleaner, since the garments are more labor-intensive, thus less likely to be done at home.
The more fragile construction requires attention to “first, do no harm.” In many cases, this is achieved by turning the garment inside-out and running it in a mesh bag.
Denim continues to be a fabric of choice for designers. It is being accented by oversized ornamental trim, especially in the form of exposed oversized zippers.
Denim is often top-dyed, which makes it prone to bleed and crock (color rubbed-off) when supplemental spotting is required. Even the smallest light area, that results from aggressive spotting, will ruin the visual impact of the entire garment.
Another fashion trend that is holding its own is the use of stamp prints. These are quite obvious when you look at the backside of the fabric and see the difference in the intensity of the design. A stamp print is painted on one side of the fabric.
This method allows for bold patterns of bright colors. This pattern is easily disturbed by careless spotting or the sloppy use of a paint, oil and grease (POG) remover.
This spring, the patterns are larger, many in a floral or stripe design.
If the backside of the design is less obvious than the design on the front, be cautious when spotting the stain. Do not use a paint remover on a stamp print, but use repeated applications of a mild general pre-spotter.
METAL, SEQUINS, GLITTER
The return of metallic fabric as a staple rather than trim is a reason for concern for the cleaning industry.
Metallic threads are usually made in one of two distinct ways. One way is to glue the metallic foil to an existing thread to achieve the metallic appearance. The second, and more fragile, way is to fold and glue the metallic foil to form the appearance of a yarn and then weave that yarn into a fabric.
Never use rust remover on metallic thread. Always flush tannin formula (an acid) as quickly as possible when working around or on metallic thread.
Instruct your customer service representatives (CSR) to advise customers presenting garments with vomit residue on a metallic that there is a strong possibility that the stomach acid may alter the appearance of the fabric, in the stained area, for which you cannot be held responsible.
Sequins are being used more frequently this spring. Mechanical action is the enemy of every form of sequin trim. Any garment with sequin trim must be handled with the first priority being reduced mechanical action.
Sequins are applied in various ways. Some sequins are placed in a setting of metal prongs. This is good for the sequins, but the prongs can snag the fabric of other garments during cleaning and drying.
Some sequins are simply glued on the surface of the fabric. This type of garment is one of limited serviceability, as even the vibration of wearing can loosen and detach the sequins.
The most fragile application is the simple gluing of glitter to the surface of the fabric, commonly referred to as “crushed ice.” Processing garments constructed with crushed ice is the one time that taking the risk of wet cleaning may be a better choice than other forms of cleaning, if extreme measures are taken to reduce mechanical action.
There is profit in these high-fashion, high-end garments. Knowledge and effort will allow you to harvest this often-overlooked portion of the garment care market.
To read Part 1, go HERE.